Can donkeys even learn to do tricks? It’s important to remember this:
Everything we teach a donkey to do, that he wouldn’t do naturally, is a trick to him!
That includes driving and riding… really even leading is a trick to a donkey! When you think about it that way, you’re only limited by your own imagination once you have the skills and understanding of how to go about training.
Why trick train? 7 Reasons to teach your donkey tricks
- You are developing a strong bond with your donkey by spending extra time with him for trick training
- Trick Training your donkey is a great tool to break up the usual training sessions that are typically more focused on work. Sometimes if I feel like my donkey is losing interest in what we are training, I’ll switch to training a simple trick to try to get his attention back on me.
- Trick training typically uses more positive re-enforcement techniques, which make your donkey a more willing partner. This willingness spills over into other more ‘serious’ training sessions, such as driving or riding training.
- You get your donkey thinking and using his brain more!
- Building the donkeys confidence! This is good for rescue donkeys. Trick training is fun and positive and that’s exactly what rescue donkeys need.
- It’s something you can teach almost anywhere, even in small spaces.
- Its FUN!!! Not everything has to be about learning a “useful skill”.
Bonus reason to teach ‘donkey tricks’
Maybe one of the most important reasons. Many “tricks” lead to necessary skills. Such as platform training (simply training the donkey to step up onto something) can help the donkey accept stepping up into the trailer to load. One of this weeks exclusive videos in the Donkey Training Membership group is about platform training. Click the pic to check out the group!
Clicker Training Donkeys
One method of teaching a donkey tricks is to use a clicker. Clicker Training donkeys (aka, positive reinforcement) has been around for a while and I’ve had a lot of success using it. In fact, many of you who follow my website, youtube, etc, already know this. It’s a key part of my Level 1 Foundation Training. It’s what has made training donkeys for so many things possible for me!
Even if you don’t want to use an actual ‘clicker’ you can use pop or cluck with your mouth to stand in as a ‘clicker’. I personally had trouble keeping up with a clicker, so this method was perfect for me to add into my training sessions.. I’m using the ‘clicker’ training method to help teach this donkey treat manners.
I encourage you to educate yourself on the subject of clicker training donkeys because it really adds something different to the sessions that may help you with a donkey that doesn’t respond with the enthusiasm you’d like.
Here is another article that might interest you on the subject: Training Donkeys (Gentling and Starting Positive Reinforcement)
Easy Tricks to Teach Your Donkey
Here is a list of easy tricks you can teach your donkey. You can find steps on teaching these tricks on youtube… they are almost all using horses, but you can get ideas from them to use for donkeys.
Be patient, I will get videos up showing these tricks with donkeys as I have time! (make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel and click the bell to be notified of new donkey training videos)
I do have a video here of me starting Jasper with the smile trick. He got it after a few sessions.
How to teach your donkey to smile
Other easy, fun tricks:
- Teach your donkey to say yes
- How to teach your horse to say no
- How to teach your donkey to hug
Some Things to Consider with Teaching Donkeys Tricks
Some donkeys will naturally enjoy trick training more than others. Same as with liberty play or any other thing you would like to teach. Do not get discouraged! This is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for you and your donkey! If you hit a block move on to another trick you donkey may enjoy better.
Example: Rocketman loves to jump! He does not really like learning tricks where he has to stand around to long. But some of my other donkeys like standing around learning to smile, etc!
Why force something that’s for fun and enrichment they don’t enjoy, right?
Remember, if it’s not fun, you aren’t doing it right!
To Further your education on Donkey Training
What to learn how to train your donkey basic manners, tricks or anything using a positive reinforcement foundation? Check out my Donkey Training Membership group and my Level 1 Foundation Donkey Training course.